eat somebody alive

eat (one) alive

1. To bite one excessively, as of insects. If you're out here at dusk, the mosquitos will eat you alive.
2. To overwhelm and/or easily defeat one due to being more aggressive, powerful, etc. Our team isn't very good, and I'm worried that the competition at this level will eat us alive. Lena is so meek, I worry about her moving to the city. They're going to eat her alive.
3. To criticize one harshly. The teacher will eat you alive if you come in without your homework again today.
4. To cause one significant physical or emotional pain. Even though it's been a while, I think memories of that accident are still eating him alive.
See also: alive, eat

eat somebody aˈlive

(informal)
1 (also have/eat somebody for ˈbreakfast) criticize or punish somebody severely because you are extremely angry with them
2 (also have/eat somebody for ˈbreakfast) defeat somebody completely in an argument, a competition, etc: The defence lawyers are going to eat you alive tomorrow.The union leader eats managers for breakfast!
3 (usually used in the passive) (of insects, etc.) bite somebody many times: I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes.
See also: alive, eat, somebody